Unjustly terminated, a former Spirit Airlines flight attendant was dismissed from her duties due to her waist size being too large. She claims that instead of firing her, adjustments should have been made so she could fulfill the requirements of the job; such as providing an alternative seating option in order to fit properly on board during flights. In response to the overweight flight attendant’s complaints, Spirit Airlines neglected to make any attempt at providing her with the necessary accommodations that would enable her to conduct her duties safely. Now Chelsia Blackmon has taken legal action and is suing for an undisclosed amount of compensation due to being treated unjustly by this budget airline.
According to Blackmon, the difficulties she experienced were more than just being overweight. She proclaimed that as a black woman flying with Spirit Airlines, her situation was treated much differently from that of a white colleague who had similar weight issues. Though both flight attendants were too large to buckle their seat belts and occupy the crew jump seat, only the white worker received an opportunity to shed pounds while Blackmon’s employment was terminated without delay.
Even though Spirit Airlines does not list any specific measures for its flight crew concerning weight, they do have a requirement to be able to fit safely into the aircraft’s jump seats and buckle themselves in. This is necessary if an emergency should happen during the journey, including turbulence or other issues that can arise mid-air.
Last month, Blackmon took Spirit Airlines to court in the state of Florida where they are based. She had completed all necessary training and abided by every compliance regulation when she was hired as a flight attendant for their budget airline. Additionally, she passed an extensive test that involved strapping herself into a jump seat with no less than four-point harnesses; yet still faced discrimination from her employers on almost every flight.
On September 3, 2021, the flight attendant’s luck ran out on her Airbus A319 plane. Despite having successfully completed several flights with no issues and fitting into the four-point harness jump seat without problems in the past; this time around, due to her size being too large for it, she was unable to buckle herself safely into her assigned spot.
Sandy Blackmon was requested to disembark the plane and wasn’t given a second opportunity with the extender belt. After this episode, she was placed on administrative leave until executives held a meeting regarding her eligibility to stay employed as Spirit Airlines’ flight attendant.
In October 2021, after demonstrating that she was capable of strapping into a jump seat by herself, the flight crew allowed her back onto their aircraft. Regrettably though, due to her size she wasn’t able to fit into this particular jump seat and had to be refused from working for that flight.
By November 2021, Spirit Airlines had no other option but to terminate Blackmon’s contract due to her inability to fit in the assigned seat.
In contrast, the white flight attendant who encountered the same issue was given multiple months to shed pounds in order for them to be able to fit snugly into their seat.
Spirit Airline’s “discriminatory and illegal differential treatment based upon her race,” so Blackmon has suffered “lost wages, compensatory damages, mental anguish and suffering.”
Her complaint also alleges that Spirit “was in willful and malicious and in reckless disregard of her civil rights.”